Month: August 2015

High Notes

My SAGA Saga

By Chris Anderson It’s no secret – I love music. I love everything about it. I love discovering new music and championing some artist long before they’re relevant. Even more so, I love discovering some band or artist who is so late in their career that they are often far past relevance, but boasting a vast body of work. It’s like finding some secret room in your house that you never knew existed. Sometimes those rooms are filled with treasure, sometimes they are filled with fuzzy memories, and sometimes they are filled with doors to even more secret rooms. But every so often that room is dark and full of cobwebs and other obstacles and you know there is something really cool in there but you just can’t see it, for one reason or another. That happened to me with Widespread Panic for about a decade – I would buy their albums and trade for bootlegs and I would listen and know that I was supposed to like them, but I just didn’t “get” it. I just had this aversion to them and I could not put my finger on it. Until one day, for some random reason, it finally clicked. And then they went on to become one of my favorite bands in the world. Now, I don’t even really remember what it was that turned me off. Another band that did that to me is Saga. Far less popular than many bands out there, they nonetheless have kept up a career for almost 40 years and have released 21 albums, to date. They are Canadian and have a prog mentality. There is no reason why they did not exist in my musical palette. But every time I listened to them, I wasn’t sold. And that drove me totally…

Continue Reading

Urban Garden

Jimmy and Angie’s Garden of Eatin’, Part IV

By Jimmy Deaton This season has been quite an adventure thanks to the weather. All of the excess rain has done wonders for some parts of the garden and others have hated it. All the plants have done exceptionally well with the exception of the tomatoes. We did lose a tomato plant to early blight, one sweet pepper to unknown reasons and one of our basil plants to ants who decided it would be fun to build their nest right where the basil roots were located……grrr! But the bright side is we always have back up plants ready by taking cuttings of the parent plants that are growing. We replaced plants that were not doing too great with new ones and have started part of this years bean production. We have one bed of beans started where the squash/zucchini was and have tucked beans and/or radishes into nooks and crannies where we have enough available space and light. Taking advantage of every inch available makes walking through the produce section of the grocery store that much easier in the winter months. We will start the fall/winter plants soon with the likes of salad greens, kale and collards. We have also added a few new “ever-bearing” strawberries and a dwarf grape to the fruit stable this year. To give you a little perspective with what is going on in the garden now, here is photo of part of our chili plant section. The plant shown is a new cross between a Fatalli and Tabasco chili’s. We haven’t tried one yet to see how they taste but the overall health and vigor of the plant is outstanding. The plants are “humongous” with a very prolific output of chili pods. This photo shows a portion of our grape olive tomato harvest. These are…

Continue Reading

On the Road

On the road with OTC

Charlie and Sandy Collum were “On the Road” – again – with the Old Town Crier. This time they were on a 2 week riverboat cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. They spent a few extra days in this beautiful city and found a great bar/restaurant called Tales & Spirits that provided a great photo op. They said, “This is a cool place where we met new friends who took our picture.”

National Harbor

National Harbor Events

National Harbor Events August 2015 Saturdays and Sundays 10:00 am- 5:00 pm Millers Farm Market On American Way Miller Farms offers a wide variety of local seasonal fruits and vegetables along with some imports – lemons, limes, pineapple, etc. – as well as baked goods and flowers. Fitness on the Potomac with WillPower Functional Fitness On the Plaza – Free! 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm 6th – Zumba 13th – Cardio Kickboxing 20th – Zumba 27th – Cardio Kickboxing Live Music on the Plaza On the Plaza – Free! 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm 7th – Southern Maryland Concert Band 14th – Southern Maryland Jazz Orchestra 21st – Built 4 Comfort Band 28th – Jimi Smooth& Hit Time Military Concert Series On the Plaza – Free! 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm 1st – U.S. Navy Band featuring the Cruisers! 8th – 257th U.S. Army Band 15th – U.S. Air Force Concert Band featuring the Singing Seargeants! 22nd – U.S. Navy Band featuring the Sea Chanters! 29th – U.S. Marine Band Movies on the Potomac On the Plaza – Free! 6:00 pm Nothing says summer like a movie under the stars. Bring you chairs and grab food to go from one of the fun places on the plaza and meet in front of the jumbo screen. Fun for everyone. No coolers. 2nd – Jungle Book 9th – Back to the Future 16th – Back to the Future Part II 23rd – Back to the Future Part III 30th – Disney’s – The Kid 12th Potomac Riverboat Kids Groove Cruise Departing at 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm & 2:30 pm Perfect for kids of all ages! Buy your ticket at the National Harbor ticket booth. Cruise will depart from McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant. Adults $12, Kids 2-11 $6. 22nd Chesapeake Crab & Beer…

Continue Reading

Dining Out

Chadwick’s On the Strand – Still Changing

By Bob Tagert In 1749, when Alexandria was founded, only the fish and the seagulls ate and drank here. Where Chadwicks stands today (203 South Strand street), you would be treading water or riding a shallow-draft scow onto the sandy bank that bordered a high bluff behind you. The first person to leave his mark on this southern part of the waterfront was George Gilpin. Gilpin didn’t just build on this property, as had been required by an early law. Slicing into the cliff and using the excavated clay and rock to grade the slope, he created two new city blocks to the east. The town appointed him its engineer to supervise “banking out” all along the Alexandria shoreline. By 1812, the Strand was a recognized The three-story brick warehouse with its wooden roof stood 50 feet from the river. On the evening of Sept. 24, 1810, a candle left burning in a cooper’s shop toppled onto some shavings, igniting a fire that raged for four hours and destroyed every building on the block from Duke to Prince and Union Street to the river. The following fall a new brick warehouse facing the Strand, three stories high with a smaller brick warehouse attached at the rear, both roofed with slate and boasting iron fittings and stone door-and windowsills. The combined dimensions of 34 by 78 feet created the same footprint as for Chadwick’s kitchen and main dining room today. By 1847 tax ledger lists a “wharf and house on the alley and the Strand” with a value of $15,000. It is this structure that, incorporating perhaps some of the 1811 foundation, left parts of its grand stone and lower brick walls to Chadwicks. In 1861 Federal troops crossed the Potomac and occupied Alexandria. The properties were confiscated by the U.S….

Continue Reading

National Harbor

Get to the Harbor!

Well, we are back from our sojourn to the Wild West and I am getting back into the swing of things here at home. I am, however, having trouble getting inspired about anything earth shattering as subject material for this month’s National Harbor section. I have to admit that I have “ants in my pants” waiting for Succotash to open but it looks like it’s a ways away still. In times like this, I turn to my compadres at the Gaylord for subject matter and they always pull through. We are not in the habit of printing press releases as a general rule since our content is submitted by our writers. However, our Public Relations friend, Rachel, sent me the following press release and we decided it may be just the thing to cool us off during the month of “Dog Day” August! “It may be summer, but winter is coming and bringing with it the return of the Capital Region’s most anticipated holiday celebration – Christmas on the Potomac at Gaylord National Resort. With nearly 500,000 visitors each year, Gaylord National Resort will offer guests both new events and classic holiday favorites – including its award-winning ICE! – during its eighth annual celebration beginning November 21st through January 3rd.   Named one of the top 100 North American events by the American Bus Association, the resort’s world-famous, interactive walk-through ICE! presented by Pepsi®attraction returns with a brand new theme. Learn how Santa Claus started giving toys to good girls and boys in the retelling of the classic television special, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, celebrating its 45th anniversary this year. Artisans from Harbin, China will hand- carve more than two million pounds of colorful ice into larger-than-life ice sculptures and two-story ice slides that illustrate scenes from the Christmas…

Continue Reading

Last Word

Go Set a Watchman

By Miriam R. Kramer When To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee emerged onto the literary scene in 1960, it caused a furor, winning the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It was also quickly turned into a classic movie starring Gregory Peck as the idealized hero lawyer, Atticus Finch, who battles to set free a black man unfairly accused of rape. Educators placed it in high school English curricula for its magical depiction of the comforts and rude awakenings of childhood as seen through the eyes of Atticus’s young daughter, Scout. She and her brother watch her father battle brutal racism in a 1930s Southern courtroom in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. Harper Lee, now deaf and almost blind at 89, eschewed publicity and may not have originally intended to publish Go Set a Watchman, unearthed from a bank vault by her agent, lawyer, and publishers and written earlier than To Kill a Mockingbird. Signs point to it being originally a rough draft with a different plot, taking place when Scout is a young woman returning to Maycomb to visit her father, Atticus, and family. Yet Go Set a Watchman as a progenitor has its own moral labyrinths to ponder. Beloved literary heroine, Scout, has become a thoughtful yet still impulsive woman in her twenties: Jean Louise Finch. As Harper Lee’s first book in fifty-five years, Watchman has a heavy burden of expectations to bear from the public and the literary world, and it does not quite meet them. Its concerns are more initially abstract and complex than those that resulted in Mockingbird’s pitch-perfect and deeply affecting account of a Southern childhood with its happinesses, purity, Gothic scares, and angers at the unfairness of life. Yet it is worth reading just the same, to see Scout’s concerns in a 1950s…

Continue Reading

History Column

A Signal for Controversy

By Sarah Becker In June, readers were encouraged to remember Flag Day, a June 14th celebration which officially began in 1949.  In the introduction I wrote: George Washington’s Headquarters Flag, with its 13 stars, stood witness to the most pivotal battles of the American Revolution.  Not all flags are as enduring.  These days the Confederate flag has become…a signal for controversy.   “Alexandria flies the [Confederate] flag [because] it has a special place in the hearts of those who honor their noble, albeit defeated, ancestors,” the Alexandria Gazette wrote in 1970.  Black citizens, who associated the rebel flag with slavery, Jim Crow and the Ku Klux Klan, had ripped the flag to shreds.   Segregationist James M. Thomson, Alexandria’s Democratic majority floor leader of the Virginia House of Delegates, defended “the rights of those who cherish the [Confederate] flag as part of Virginia’s heritage.”   Unexpectedly, on June 17, 2015 Dylann Roof joined Charleston, South Carolina’s Emanuel A.M.E. church members for Bible class.  He listened, for an hour, to Rev. Clementa Pinckney’s religious lesson.  Then, tragically and without warning, Roof drew a semi-automatic gun.  He came to kill African-Americans. Roof murdered nine A.M.E. church members including Rev. Pinckney.  Photos later showed him holding not only a firearm but also a Confederate flag.  Young Roof preached white supremacy.   The Confederate flag did not exist prior to 1861.  On December 20, 1860 South Carolina voted to secede, to dissolve the Union.  Having decided that “no proposition for a compromise with the North…will be entertained,” South Carolina volunteers seized three of Charleston’s four federal forts: Moultrie, Johnson and Castle Pinckney.   President James Buchanan declined South Carolina’s December 28-29 demand to remove all Federal troops from Charleston.  To the contrary Buchanan announced that Fort Sumter would be defended.  President-elect Abraham Lincoln agreed.  …

Continue Reading

Grapevine & Vintner Profile

Greenhill Winery & Vineyards- Extraordinary in Everyway

By Frank Britt Rustic elegance. History. Heritage and serenity. Fine French-influenced wines made from 100% Virginia grapes and a legacy deeply rooted in Virginia soil. And, most certainly, one of the most beautiful winery properties in Virginia. Greenhill Winery & Vineyards is extraordinary! Almost a decade before acquiring the property, David Greenhill had been impressed by the picturesque landscape of Northern Virginia wine country. Wineries, complete with friendly winemakers and staff, beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, lush vineyards, and a sense of simple, earthy lifestyle, made him want to return again and again. An irresistible opportunity presented itself in 2013 when the property, which is in the town of Middleburg, became available. Passionate about the blossoming and “still pure” Virginia Wine Country, David Greenhill fell in love with the 128-acre estate bordered by the Little River. The property includes a natural pond, historic Manor House circa 1762, Tasting Room and 20-plus acres under vine. Current varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Riesling, Seyval Blanc, Viognier and Chardonnay. Greenhill Winery & Vineyards is proud to be part of the Loudoun County Mosby Wine Cluster and the Middleburg American Viticultural Area (AVA).According to well-known wine expert, Sébastien Marquet, Greenhill’s Consulting Winemaker, the experience here demystifies wine to its basic elements of terroir–nature, soil, climate–and the human “savoir faire.” His goal is to deliver the expression of the unique terroir, aroma and flavor, into every glass of Greenhill wine.The Tasting Room, with its earthy ambiance and friendly professional staff, provides the opportunity to try some of Greenhill’s award-winning wines. (The 2012 Bordeaux-style blend “Philosophy” and the 2013 Chardonnay received 89 points and 88 points, respectively, from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.) Greenhill’s signature Blanc de Blancs, made from 100% Chardonnay grapes in the Methode Champenoise style,…

Continue Reading

Go Fish

Graveyard Tourism

By Steve Chaconas Mallows Bay is a really cool spot on the Potomac River. Loaded with the largest collection of historic shipwrecks in the US from the Revolutionary War to the present with over 200 known vessels. It is the final resting places for World War I wooden steamships, and numerous Native American and Civil War archaeological sites! And yes, there’s bass fishing.   A group of 32 participants from 13 different sectors, including: paddlers and paddle outfitters, fishing and hunting guides, recreational and commercial fishers, law enforcement, local government, resource & park managers, tribal experts, historians, and local citizens, shared notes on Potomac River usage. The Mallows Bay-Potomac River Recreational Use Mapping Workshop was held all-day in June at the College of Southern Maryland in La Plata, MD.  Using Participatory Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology mapping, the participants provided detailed locations on how areas on the middle Potomac River, particularly in the vicinity of Mallows Bay, are being used, for what purpose, and times of year. Precise locations along the river from the 301 Bridge north to Marshall Hall were circled with an electronic pen and instantly entered into a GIS system to expedite the data collection. This technology speeds up the post-processing time and allows documentation of more thorough and accurate information since the polygons are exactly what the participants drew.   Central to the exercise was the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) application for Mallows Bay, the first in the Chesapeake Bay region to be nominated as a National Marine Sanctuary (NMS). This would enable NOAA to serve as the trustee for the nation’s system of marine protected areas, to conserve, protect, and enhance their biodiversity, ecological integrity and cultural legacy. The focus was on activities above, below and including Mallows Bay. To be noted, once nominated, a separate public process…

Continue Reading

View More